Dubawnt River North of Boyd Lake - Island in Barlow Lake
Distance 32km [447km]
Portage 0 
Very Fast Water 3 
Rapids 2 
We were on the water paddling into a headwind by 7.30am. We had a short paddle to our first marked rapid. I had been anticipating something challenging as those who have gone before us all wrote about it when they had not mentioned others with big waves, ledges etc. that we had already come through. This rapid was long, over a kilometre of Class 1+/ 2 rapid followed by a further two kilometres of fast shallow water with lots of boulder dodging. We are thinking that possibly we are travelling the route at low water levels. This would explain the difference in the descriptions of rapids, the reefs just below the surface in a number of the lakes and the number of shallow debris rapids.
Despite having to paddle against a headwind it was a beautiful morning with the countryside opening up; each bend we rounded opened yet another vista. By 10am we had entered the lower reaches of Barlow Lake and just as we stopped for a morning snack a large white Arctic wolf appeared on the shore. He was not bothered by us, more curious than anything and over the next 15 minutes he checked us out from various points in the fringing vegetation along the shoreline.
Not long after we paddled away from him John noticed a large animal ahead on the edge of the lake. It was a cow moose in beautiful condition; she seemed untroubled by our presence.
The afternoon was a hard pull as the headwind was really cranking up. We pulled into an island to wait for the wind to drop and ended up spending about five hours there dozing in the sunshine and waiting for the wind to moderate. About 5pm we decided to make a run for it and paddle for another couple of hours. The wind did eventually ease up but we still had to deal with a large rolling swell. We made it about half way up Barlow Lake before searching for a suitable camping spot. We rejected the first two islands we checked out and finally settled on the one we are camped on. It has a very ‘bouldery’ shoreline making landing and unloading difficult however the tent is in an open tundra area, like a field of miniature Labrador Tea , very pretty.
Fingers crossed for favourable winds tomorrow. John’s rash was looking better this morning and has improved further tonight. We were surprised to see a pair of bald eagles this far north as the trees are not just getting fewer but also more stunted.
Labrador Tea. A low-growing evergreen shrub with white flowers, of the genus Ledum